Friday

18th Jan 2019

Focus

Polish MEPs least gay-friendly in EU parliament

  • Van de Camp: 'Family matters, such as same-sex marriage, belong to the realm of [national governments]' (Photo: European Parliament)

Polish members of the European Parliament are - by far - the least gay-friendly in the house, followed by counterparts from Latvia, Lithuania and Italy.

The most friendly are from Denmark, Estonia and Sweden.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Breakdown by nationality (Photo: EUobserver, VoteWatch.eu)

Looking at five different resolutions over the last six-and-a-half years calling in one way or another for the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, less than 20 percent of Polish MEPs voted in favour, according to votewatch.eu, a website which tracks MEPs' voting behaviour. The rest either voted against, abstained or did not vote.

For Latvian deputies, the share is 35 percent. For the Lithuanians and the Italians, it is 36 percent.

By contrast, almost nine out of ten 10 Swedish MEPs have voted in favour over the years, as have three out of four Danes and Estonians. On average, more than half of all MEPs have followed their lead.

The five resolutions include three on homophobia in Europe (in 2006, 2007 and 2012), one from 2009 on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU (which makes explicit and repeated mention of the rights of LGBT people) and one from 2011 endorsing a resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity adopted by the UN.

There is also a clear divide on the voting behaviour of political groups.

Left-leaning groups have voted in favour on average almost three times more often than the right (if the Liberals can be counted among the left).

The Greens are the most gay-friendly, voting in favour almost 90 percent of the time.

They are followed closely by the social-democrats, the far-left and the Liberals - in that order. Nationalists are the least friendly, with a score of one out of 10, followed by non-attached members, conservative eurosceptics and centre-right Christian democrats.

The Christian democrats - the biggest group in the house - endorsed the latest anti-homophobia resolution in May. But despite the group line, just 42 percent of its deputies actually voted Yes.

"We have the tradition that family matters, such as same-sex marriage, belong to the realm of [national governments]," Dutch centre-right MEP Wim van de Camp - who is in his own words both a "professed [Roman] Catholic" and a "convinced homosexual" - told this website.

"There isn't much discussion within the group about this subject," he added.

He noted that religious reasons often prevent politicians from the south and east of Europe from accepting sexual minorities.

He suspected - rightly - that his fellow centre-right MEPs from the German and traditionally Catholic region of Bavaria also have voted against the resolution. He was right: out of eight Bavarian deputies, six said No.

One of them is Bernd Posselt, one of Brussels' best-known homo-sceptics.

"So-called gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with human rights," he told parliament when it debated the resolution. "Every state is free to decide how it defines marriage and family. You can't mix that up with homophobia. I am against homophobia, but also against ideological propaganda."

MEPs condemn homophobia in eastern Europe

MEPs from across the political spectrum have criticised EU member states Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary, as well as neighbouring Russia, Ukraine and Moldova over an upsurge in homophobia.

Commission accused of censorship

The European Commission on Friday was accused of censorship for omitting from a report on men's health issues such as homosexuality, condom use, divorce and suicide. The commission denies any wrongdoing.

Intersex people in EU: ashamed and invisible

Mainstream European society is slowly coming to understand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But intersex people in the EU live largely in the dark.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Germany led way on EU human rights protection
  2. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  3. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  4. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  5. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  6. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  7. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  8. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us